‘Lack of Laboratory Hinders Ocean Acidification Testing’

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Liberia’s Oceanographer and Queen’s University Belfast Ph.D. Scholar, Sheck A. Sheriff: "Africa’s major challenge is the lack of fully equipped laboratories to conduct ocean acidification testing."

-Says a Liberian scientist

Liberia’s Oceanographer and Queen’s University Belfast Ph.D. Scholar, Sheck A. Sherif, has decried that the absence of well equipped laboratories to conduct ocean acidification testing has the propensity to hinder research aimed at addressing the danger posed by acidification of the ocean.

Sherif made the observation when he recently joined scientists from across the world to discuss actions to address global ocean acidification – a challenge facing the ocean and marine resources worldwide, particularly in Africa.

Mr. Sherif is a Co-Chair of the Ocean Acidification Africa Regional Network (OA-Network)- a pan-African network that specifically supports a coordinated approach to promote ocean acidification (OA) awareness and research in Africa.

The Liberian scientist said, “Africa’s major challenge is the lack of fully equipped laboratories to conduct ocean acidification testing, especially in the long term, and viable research cruises to address the danger posed by ocean acidification.”

Sherif indicated that the OA-Africa Regional Network is advised and supported by the Ocean Foundation, Future Earth Coasts, and the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre (OA-ICC) in “working towards addressing these challenges regarding ocean acidification.

A 3-minute video was funded by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Environmental Laboratories, to showcase what the international community is doing to address Ocean Acidification (OA). According to the Liberian Oceanographer, ocean acidification can be remedied when all hands get on deck in tackling the challenge of how carbon dioxide is emitted.

Sherif called for global support to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.3, which seeks to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources because the ocean drives global systems that make the Earth habitable.

Sherif further disclosed that with additional support from the International Atomic Energy Agency and other partners, the Ocean Acidification Africa Regional Network has taken steps to create awareness on the continent about the impact of ocean acidification to enhance research, monitoring capability, and mitigation.

The Queen’s University Belfast Ph.D. scholar mentioned that ocean acidification was highlighted among critical issues discussed at the Blue Oceans Conference in Monrovia in March 2019. The video, according to the IAEA OA-ICC, includes a short interview clip from 7-8 key people from around the world who are working together to address OA.

The main objective is to raise awareness on the fact that while ocean acidification is an increasingly important threat to our oceans, the OA community is taking action to address OA in a collaborative way. Other scientists on the panel included Alexis Valauri-Orton from the International Ocean Acidification Initiative of The Ocean Foundation; Jean-Pierre Gattuso, Associate Researcher of the French National Centre for Scientific Research; Jan Newton, Co-Chair of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network, senior principal oceanographer with the Applied Physics Laboratory of the University of Washington, and an affiliate professor in both the UW School of Oceanography and the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs; Marine Lebrec, Research Scientist at the International Atomic Energy Agency; Bronte Tilbrook, Co-Chair, Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network; Jessie Turner, International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification.

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